Half Death March, Half User Trail to Rainbow Falls 8/20/08

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The C-Ws
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Half Death March, Half User Trail to Rainbow Falls 8/20/08

Post by The C-Ws » August 23rd, 2008, 7:18 am

The day after bushwhacking Whychus Creek, we drove over Mckenzie Pass to reach the base of Rainbow Falls. We parked on Foley Ridge Road at the top of a gully that led close to the base of the falls. It had rained the night before and was still sprinkling. We had't expected this, so we did not bring raincoats to Sisters and therefore got drenched from the wet plants within minutes. We set off down the gully, and soon it proved itself to be one of the brushiest bushwhacks I've ever been on. There was vine maple everywhere, as well as oregon grape and Himalayan blackberries. We tried staying high as the gully descended rapidly, then met similarly thick brush had to bushwhack down a nearly vertical rockslide to get back down into the gully. After a little while more, we found an obvious trail crossing the gully.

We followed it toward the falls and, after circumnavigating a couple of sketchy washouts, arrived at the base of the falls. At this point the rain had really picked up, and I had to hold my jacket over my camera. The falls is shaped like Linton Falls, bending to the left so that only the bottom few tiers can be seen from the base.
Image

We were so fed up with vine maple that we decided to take the trail a ways and hope it led up to the road. We followed it for nearly a mile, and after crossing lots of downed trees and steep slopes, it led to the Forest Service's Rainbow Falls Viewpoint. It was so foggy that we couldn't see the falls.

We followed the trail for a mile and a half back to the road, and walked it back to the car. By this time we were drenched to the bone, along with our packs, everything in them and my camera, which thankfully still works. For anyone who wants to visit the falls, take the Rainbow Falls Viewpoint Trail to the viewpoint and look for the user trail on the far side of some logs. Follow this for a mile to the base of the falls.

Our GPS track:
Rainbow Falls.JPG
Casey

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Splintercat
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Re: Half Death March, Half User Trail to Rainbow Falls 8/20/08

Post by Splintercat » August 24th, 2008, 7:48 pm

Rugged trip, Casey! So, where is the FS viewpoint on your route?

Tom

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Re: Half Death March, Half User Trail to Rainbow Falls 8/20/08

Post by The C-Ws » August 25th, 2008, 6:28 am

I think it's where the route makes a 90 degree turn near the canyon rim. Either the trail is mislabeled on the USGS or I had a lot of GPS drift. Probably both.
Casey

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Re: Half Death March, Half User Trail to Rainbow Falls 8/20/08

Post by greglief » August 25th, 2008, 1:25 pm

Hi Casey,

Thank you for the report. I greatly admire your tenacity! I have only seen this one from a (long) distance, but will have to try to reach the base.

Greg
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